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Mindful : August 2015
door starts. Some want to congratulate you and ingratiate themselves. Some are very anxious, worried about the knowledge that John may be leaving with or the difficulty of replacing him. You don’t say much, but your confident demeanor puts them at ease. Two days later John calls. “Even though I don’t like the way it happened, I was talking to my wife and she reminded me that this is the space and opportu- nity for change that we both have been talking about for some time,” he says. “I suppose I have to reluctantly thank you.” LETTING GO Finally, the action is completed, the dust has settled, and it’s time for whatever’s next. It’s time to let go. How do we know when that is? If it hasn’t already happened, we may find our- selves caught up in the intensity of what we just went through, constantly reliving our victories or nursing our wounds. In either case we’re fighting past battles and need to move forward. Letting go is not just about releasing. It’s about gathering our strength and moving ener- getically forward to the next phase of engaging. We can now see more clearly the useful feed- back we need to explore our next steps. In the same way that we often mark impor- tant transitions in life with ritual, it’s good to mark the end of a journey with a definite moment of celebration, even if it’s as small as saying to yourself, “Okay that’s done. Let’s look around and see what’s happening.” There’s a natural joy and energy in that. In mindful- ness practice we sometimes feel a spontaneous moment of freshness, a breeze of delight as if a big window had just opened in our stuffy room and our preoccupations of a moment before blew right out. So letting go here involves dropping the whole story and again looking out openly. Focus moves to openness, and we are back at the beginning of the cycle, ready to enter again. In doing that we experience freshness and perhaps a sense of potent eagerness, delight in living in the challenge. A few days after John’s call, your partner says that you seem a bit distant and edgy. She’s been trying to talk to you and not getting through. It’s true: You’ve been playing the events over and over in your mind—basking in your sense of power and cleverness. You exhale loudly, smile at the ridiculousness of the omnipotent fantasies you’ve been spinning, and decide to take the rest of the day off, before starting afresh tomorrow. ● 80 mindful August 2015 insight practices